Buddhism in Tamil Nadu

In our travels in search of the ancient Buddha statues of Tamil Nadu, we came across many Buddha and Bodhisattva statues from the 1st – 16th Century CE timeframe. As of today, though Tamilians are not so much aware of the history of Buddhism in the Tamil land, and though many of them consider Buddhism to be a foreign system belonging to Sri Lanka, the fact is the other way around. From almost every district of Tamil Nadu, ancient Buddha statues have been discovered. Tamil Nadu had wide-spread presence of all forms of Buddhism including Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Many great Buddhist scholars and Yogis were also from there including Bodhidharma, Dignaga, Buddhaghosha, Dhammapala, Dharmakirthi, Chandrakirthi and Dharmapala. According to Tibetan master Taranatha, Guru Padmasambhava stayed in Tamil Nadu for many years and taught Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism there. There are also historical accounts of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka being revived in the 13th Century by inviting monks from Tamil Nadu. 


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Ancient Buddha Statues of Pondicherry

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Pakshitheertham – The Sacred Place of the Birds

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Nagapattinam – The last citadel of Buddhism in South India

Around 350 statues of Buddha and Bodhisattvas and some stupas were uncovered from Nagapattinam in…

Ancient Buddhist statues unearthed in Sellur, Tamil Nadu

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Buddhism in Thiruvarur, Tamil Nadu

There was widespread presence of Buddhism in the Thiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu for a…

Buddhism in Perambalur, Tamil Nadu

Perambalur district of Tamil Nadu has two ancient Buddha statues. One of them, a 5ft…

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Revealing the rich heritage of Buddhism in Thanjavur and Kumbakonam from its ancient period, many…

A Majestic Vestige of Buddhism in Pushpavanam

A majestic vestige of the foregone era of Buddhism in Pushpavanam, Nagapattinam can be seen…

Buddhism in Tiruchirappalli – Place of an Ancient Vihara

The presensce of Mahayana Buddhism in Tiruchirappalli is all through the Chola period is evident…

Buddhism in Ariyalur – a Land of Ancient Viharas

There was strong presence of Buddhism in Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu, as it is…

Buddha statue that looks like Guru Rinpoche in Mangalam

In Mangalam, Musiri Talkuk, Tamil Nadu, there is an ancient Buddha statue that looks like…

Buddha Statues of Buddhamangalam and Peruncheri.

In Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu, many ancient Buddhist remains were rediscovered over the last century.…

Soon to come

  • Ancient Buddha Statues of Salem and Dharmapuri
  • Ancient Buddha Statues of South Tamil Nadu